In an extraordinary sequence of events beginning in the bowels of the internet, reports have emerged claiming Victorian Police Commissioner Simon Overland has lent his name to unsourced rumours claiming that the CFMEU has hired bikie gangs as security on Melbourne's Westgate Bridge construction site.
In response to a question by veteran business journalist Robert Gottliebsen at the Melbourne Press Club yesterday afternoon, Overland appeared to back claims of bikie involvement on the picket line, following up his comments with a "quip" that the dispute was essentially “between former and current union members”.
The union is currently involved in a bitter dispute with contractor John Holland over a wages agreement on the site, with the notoriously combative firm bussing in non-union workers from around the country while the dispute is mediated in the Industrial Relations Commission.
Overland’s comments were promptly reported
last night by Gottliebsen on Business Spectator
, which had been inspired to delve into the dispute after the bikies-for-hire claims surfaced in a previous Business Spectator opinion piece
written by Independent Contractors of Australia IR warrior Ken Phillips.
The key par is here:
I asked him this question: "How many police have been diverted to the Westgate Bridge inter-union dispute. Are you concerned that one group of unions has hired bikie gangs to intimidate rival union members?"